Faithlife Sermons

Accusing Others, Excusing Me

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Numbers 23:13

Then Balak said to him, “Come with me to another place where you can see them; you will see only a part but not all of them. And from there, curse them for me.”

The first time Balak took Balaam aside to curse Israel, he “saw part of the people” but blessed them instead of cursing them. It happened again the second time. The third time, Balaam overlooked the wasteland and realized it pleased God that he blessed his people so he did not “resort to sorcery as at other times but turned his face toward the desert.” He saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe and the Holy Spirit came over him and he blessed them again.

Yesterday, one of God’s people totally irritated me. Like Balaam, I was tempted to call her down, not for financial gain but some sort of personal satisfaction. As I read this verse, I realized the deeper lesson. Balak represents the enemy of God who spoke the same way to Job through his wife and friends, “Curse God and die.” In tempting Balaam, he was doing what he did to me.

Also, Balaam was interested in personal gain, which was his sin and led to worse compromises, for which Peter and Jude later condemn him. The issue was not that he himself wanted to curse Israel, for this seemed of no consequence to him, but that he wanted to profit in some way and if he could, he would do it.

God didn’t let it happen. Each time he tried to do as Balak asked, he uttered a blessing instead. Balak told him to “leave at once. . . I said I would reward you handsomely, but the Lord has kept you from being rewarded.”

There is no reward in calling down God’s people. It is a lie. The satisfaction I get from putting down anyone does not last and is false. The enemy wins because I’ve joined with him in being an “accuser of the brethren” but I lose, not only his “reward” but God’s pleasure.

Balaam seemed to have learned a lesson but didn’t confess his sin. He simply “returned home” at the end of this story. For me, I need to deal with those things that came out when this person did her thing.

One: totally missed my motivations and replaced them with what her own would be and then commended me for doing better at it than she does. Yikes, I hate being misunderstood at that heart level.

Two: yakked on and on about a topic in ignorance and error as if her new information was somehow the ultimate knowledge and the whole world was wrong. I do not like it when talked to as if I am ignorant.

Three: told me how to handle a situation I’m in with another person as if I am stupid, insensitive, and will totally mess up the entire thing. Again, that feeling of being thought of as a fool, as being incompetent, not knowing anything and being unable to do the right thing.

All three are pride. While this person is insensitive, vain, and a know-it-all, like Balaam, I do not see all of her just as she does not see all of me. Also, I hate in her what is in myself. The only reason to deal with the way I feel when she rubs me the wrong way is to see and confess my own sin in it, not put her down.

God would not let Balaam put down Israel. He has been very patient with me. This time, I understand myself better as well as the source of the temptation. Satan is the accuser. To give in to calling her down is to yield to him and work with him.

Instead, as hard as it may seem to be, I need to confess my pride and let go of it. I need to bless this person.

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